Division in SLFP main reason for UNP victory
By Rasika Hemamali
United National Party Gampaha District Member of Parliament Harshana Rajakaruna says, "the division in the SLFP today will be the main reason for our victory."
How does the United National Party (UNP) get ready for the election, from Gampaha District?
A: We have, by now, finished a good part of the reorganization activities of the party and have selected the candidates. Quite significantly not even one of the UNP's nominations, in the whole of Sri Lanka, was rejected. We are now campaigning for the election. We have already finished the first round of the house to house campaign. As it is a village level election our main task is to go from house to house and inform the people.
Gampaha is believed to be a district where the Sri Lanka Freedom Party and the United People's Freedom Alliance are at an advantage. Is there no challenge to the UNP in Gampaha?
A: The UNP is at an advantage in all the coastal constituencies such as Wattala, Ja-ela and Negombo. Kelaniya and Biyagama are neutral.Dompe, Attanagalle, Mahara and Gampaha are considered as advantageous to the SLFP. I have more responsibility now as the electoral organizer for Dompe.Along with the victory in 1977 the UNP has won at Dompe four times by now. It was victorious in Dompe at the general election in 1977; at the referendum of 1982 and at the 1989 and 2002 general elections.We have been able to implement a massive development programme in Dompe. There has been more development in the electorate during the short period of the last two and a half years than during the past 15 to 20 years.The people are highly impressed with the UNP for this.Being together with the SLFP is also a big advantage. In 2002 we won the Dompe Pradeshiya Sabha election also. The division in the SLFP today will be the main reason for our victory.
I have to mention that it is best to give the power of the Local Government institutions to the UNP in order to usher in provincial development with the assistance of the Central Government. This is a good opportunity for the people to ensure speedy development.
Minister John Amaratunga is senior UNPer representing the Gampaha District. He had said 'the Government is ours and the police are also ours and therefore there is nothing to fear'. Can you approve of such a statement as a young UNP MP?
A: The Presidential Election was won when the Pradeshiya Sabhas, Provincial Councils, the Government and the Presidential powers were with Rajapaksas. His statement is only his opinion.There is no validity in it. Unlike those days there is an independent police, now. The Elections Commission is independent. It is easier for us to be in the Opposition than to be in the Government. The attention of both the police and the Elections Commission has been directed at us. So, the UNP is not at all at an advantage just because we are in the Government.
The President has presented the report of the Presidential Commission on bonds. It has been recommended that legal action should be taken against the former Finance Minister. Hasn't the UNP's name been mentioned in connection with a big fraud?
A: Could you have expected such a Commission being appointed by the previous Government? , When the worse frauds and murders took place. All that the former President said that he was keeping the files with him. The people wanted the kind of transparency that is there today. Whoever commits an offence now, it will come out. It will not be kept secret like the previous Government did.The people's expectations have been met.This is what the people looked forward to on 8 January and 15 August.
All of us have asked that whoever commits an offence must be punished through a judicial process.
The people who voted on 8 January and 15 August expected rogues in the previous Government would be caught, the corrupt would be punished, facts about the Lamborghinis would be disclosed and golden horses would be found. But it has not happened.
The accused, themselves, are now ridiculing the allegations directed at them.
A: We are fighting for it even within our group. That is, exactly, why the former Minister of Justice had to resign. We expect and we have been informed that the judicial process on these would be expedited through the Special High Courts to be set up. That will definitely happen within this year. We never say that there has to be political victimization. We say that the wrongdoers should be punished through fair investigations. The hardest part of this is now over. What is left to be done is activating the judicial process. The ridiculing will stop with the setting up of the three Special High Courts. Very soon, the culprits would be punished.
Does creating awareness about it happen within the party?
A: We remind about it frequently.
You and others go to the people, especially, these days. Aren't you afraid that the people will question you about the promises made before 8 January?
A: The people are already questioning about it. They are already angry about nothing happening. That is why the voice of the people is conveyed to the party hierarchy.
Did the younger group in the UNP bring a proposal to leave the Government?
A: It is not a decision taken as the younger group; it is the personal opinions that are put forward. What we agree with are not decisions taken as a group but as a party. The party has agreed for the UNP and the SLFP to go on a journey together. I am also of the opinion that United National Party and the Sri Lanka Freedom Party must go together until 2020. We will definitely have to be together until 2020 without any party or colour difference to make the changes necessary for the country.
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